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How Employee Recognition Programs Can Help Communicate Company Values

Luke Kreitner
7/13/23 8:00 AM

Employee recognition programs have been proven to have a positive effect on employee engagement. This engagement, in turn, leads to higher productivity, lower turnover rates, and increased profitability for a company. An important aspect of employee recognition is communication, which connects desired attitudes and behavior to rewards.

Recognition programs can vary in nature, ranging from top-down to peer-to-peer and from informal to formal. The former requires consistent involvement from upper management and direct reports. Studies have shown that recognition from a CEO has a more significant impact than that from managers or peers. However, others argue that this type of recognition can sometimes appear non-genuine or forced. It's crucial to make sure the program aligns with the company's values/mission, is widely promoted and encouraged, and comprehensively adopted by management.

Gallup's data shows that the most effective recognition is honest, authentic, and individualized. Regardless of the messenger, all forms of recognition should be reinforced by company values, and come from a genuine place of gratitude, to avoid forced or mechanical perceptions. The rewards offered should also represent the employee's preferences. A one-size-fits-all approach is not as effective, as it can lose its luster and become less powerful as a motivation and engagement tool.

Ultimately, a recognition program is a manifestation of a company's culture. The best recognition programs align with and embody company values. Therefore, when developing the framework for your recognition program, start with company values and move on to a list of related behaviors to be recognized. 

Here are a few commonly recognized behaviors derived from values: 

  • Respect
  • Teamwork
  • Trust
  • Accountability
  • Commitment
  • Passion
  • Integrity
  • Honesty
  • Humility
  • Leadership
  • Diversity
  • Innovation
  • Quality 

A company recognition program is an opportunity to reinforce the organization's core values and mission. It is imperative that these values are evident in the daily operations and employee experience. Clear communication is necessary for effective employee buy-in, and to achieve this, be specific in detailing what behaviors, attitudes, and actions will be rewarded, and why. Encouraging a company culture of teamwork is crucial, and incentivizing this value can help drive this behavior. To ensure branding consistency and maximum visibility, incorporate the recognition program's brand with communications such as emails, flyers, posters, postcards, social media banners, and behavior to rewards.


Check out our recognition and rewards platform which provides organizations of all sizes with simple, customizable solutions to engage and inspire employees to perform their best.

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